We can only love as much as our current level of consciousness allows.
When we say that we love someone with all our hearts, the limited nature of that love is dependent on the level of consciousness we hold at the time.
Love can be so easily tainted by fear, which by its very nature is often so insidious that we don’t even know it is there, so insidious that we believe it IS US. One of the biggest fears of all being the fear that someone else will withdraw their love and our own unworthiness will definitively be proven to us beyond any reasonable doubt.
I know that I do not love with absolute unconditional purity, that is a high goal that I know I might never reach. But I open myself with a willingness to love with more of my authentic heart every day. When I look back on my life, I can’t even count the number of times that I have hurt others while just trying to love them with the whole of my being. This knowledge is still a sick slime in my belly and something that I am still working on forgiving myself for, that I am still working on releasing and healing.
I hurt them by depending upon them for love, by burdening them with the full responsibility of my own mental/emotional well-being, by asking for something that only I could give myself.
I hurt them through unconscious words that rocketed from my mind and through my mouth before my conscience had its say.
I hurt people I loved, by staying silent and still, by diverting my eyes from their need of fear, or embarrassment.
I hurt them by speaking for them and by making assumptions about what was in their hearts and by failing to speak the truth written on my own heart.
I hurt people by loving them without boundaries, by taking on responsibility for their wellness that was not mine to take.
I hurt them through my own ignorance of what it means to love for Love’s sake, from a continued experience of wholeness and oneness, without attachment to reciprocity or outcomes.
I think we all do this, and every time we become aware of someone else’s ignorance of love and failures to fully love us, it is a Precious Gift. These experiences of well-intentioned but tainted love are how we begin to examine our own lives and behaviors and become determined to not repeat those mistakes again. It is the unconscious mimicking of ignorant patterns of behavior the perpetuates cycles of limited love.
"True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’" ~ Oprah Winfrey
It is time to forgive.
To forgive without the cloying aftertaste of tolerance, pity, and obligatory resignation and without getting sucked into the initial cycles of blame and self-righteousness. Rather, let’s forgive in the spirit of compassion and gratitude with the knowledge that we also have caused suffering while simply trying to love as best we could.
Let’s forgive ourselves, our parents, our guardians and family members, our friends and our enemies, our teachers and our students. Let’s forgive the human collective, for to forgive one is to forgive all. That is what makes forgiveness so powerful.
This is not the same as excusing the behaviors but is rather a commitment to living in the present and learning from the past. Forgiveness frees us from the weight of blame and self-pity and empowers us to step out of the shackles of victimhood and make decisions on what way of life is best for us. Forgiveness allows us to put an end to the cycle, instead of continuing to punish ourselves daily because a past version of ourselves or someone else didn’t know how to limitlessly love.
Every day we wake up new.
"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." ~ Desmond Tutu
I am not the same woman I was yesterday, not even close. I am not the same person who caused all that pain in others. My mother, father, and step-parents are not the same people they were. The lovers who left and the friends who turned their backs are not the same people they were when they hurt me. We are not the same people and most of the suffering we experienced was caused by ignorance, by this separation from Love that we were not even aware of!
This is not to say that there is no such thing as malicious action, but I do believe that true maliciousness is rare and even that, at its core, is the result of a severe separation from love.
We all need to do what we feel is right. If this is not the right time for you to forgive, then it is not time. However, I would just remember that forgiveness of more of a healing balm for your own soul than it is a backdoor of absolution for the other person (or for your past self).
If it is our goal to love more fully and to open ourselves to the experience of all that Love is, we need to release that weight of blame and resentment, anger and fear. Forgiveness is a beautiful way to let go of that weight.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
May you be aware that pure, limitless Love is with you always!